The last day of school was this week. It was a dreary day with cool temperatures and lots of rain – not quite the hot sunny day you want when the kids know they are beginning their summer vacation. It also didn’t help that mom scheduled orthodontist appointments for two of the kids that afternoon. None of us were feeling the energy and excitement of our summer vacation beginning. We usually have a silly string fight right after school and then go for ice cream. While we enjoyed our cold refreshing treat we would chat and make our summer bucket lists.
After the orthodontist appointments the clouds parted and there was a sliver of sun to brighten the late afternoon and on the way home we stopped for our annual ice cream treat. YAY! We took our ice cream to go and headed home to watch a movie. The kids were all about planning the summer bucket lists and then my daughter asks “When do we start our summer work mom?” I thought my boys were going to faint. There was complete silence from my boys and the sideways glare to their sister. I am hysterically laughing and my daughter cannot fathom why the boys look angry. It was a priceless moment.
You see my boys know mom makes them do summer work and they comply, sometimes with slight protest, but there is an unspoken rule that we do not talk about it on the last day of school. My daughter was not aware of this unspoken rule. She just finished kindergarten, got a summer work packet from her teacher and is so excited to start first grade. Nowhere in her little mind is the least bit of concern about having summer work. In fact, she is ready and willing!
My boys made darn sure that my daughter is now aware of the unspoken rule. They also thanked me for not “starting on them about summer work yet.” I told them they were lucky because I wasn’t going to “start on them” until Monday, so they better live it up now. 🙂 My daughter apparently cannot wait until Monday and needs to start NOW.
What I find most interesting is that the boys are always concerned about what I have planned for summer work. I really believe they picture sitting in a hot room with nothing but paper and pencil work all day or mom drilling them with math facts for hours on end. It really amuses me. Reality is that once I lay out my plan, there are very few complaints and everyone kind of forgets about the dreaded summer work because it becomes a part of our routine, activities and adventures. Dare I say they even enjoy it a bit?
After our movie, my one son announces he has a brilliant plan. First he asked if we were going to have to write during the summer again. I quickly discovered that he was plotting out his brilliant plan instead of really enjoying the movie. My answer was, as if there was any doubt, yes you will have to write this summer. My daughter chimes in excitedly asking if she will get a new journal to write in and I am pretty confident my oldest son rolled his eyes and stopped listening. He quickly started listening again when the next words out of his brother’s mouth were “I think you need summer work too mom.” (Ummm…what?) As I processed his statement and he laid out the rest of his brilliant plan with that Cheshire cat grin, I decided to go with his plan. Albeit adding more to my daily routine was not part of my plan, how bad could his plan really be?
Moving ahead, his plan lead to a discussion with his siblings about what they should make mom do for summer work. They tossed around all kinds of ideas, including having me do a research report on a topic they picked for me. I have to admit, I was sweating a bit during their discussion time. Fortunately they came to an agreement that I can live with and am looking forwarding to doing with them this summer. They have assigned me with doing writing work with them this summer. They were very clear it was not going to be writing in my journal, writing a blog post, writing Happy Mail or writing things for my business. Those were things I did all the time and would not “challenge me.” I just love when my own words come back at me – HA!
I give them topics to write about in the summer, basically a prompt to get their creative juices flowing. I outline the actual requirements of the writing depending on their age, ability and mood of the day. They each get a new journal and they get to design the cover. They have to read their journal entries aloud once completed and the entries must be hand written. The guidelines I use for them are the guidelines they are using for me…with a few tweaks of course. One of those tweaks is that they are choosing my journal prompts and another is that I have to print since all of them cannot read cursive yet. Oh, I also get one topic a week where they get a different topic each time we do writing unless they need more time with the previous topic. I can totally live with those tweaks.
So why am I writing about this? Because I think my sons’ plan truly is brilliant! I am being forced to slow down and creatively write for fun. They were right, all of my writing has a purpose and I do write all of the time. I do not slow down to write creatively for fun, even though it is something I enjoy. My children collaborated and are excited to see me work with them – right down to designing my journal cover and reading my journal entries out loud to them. I am looking forward to this time together and to seeing the improvement in all of our writing skills.
I am inviting you to use, with my children’s permission, the journal prompts that they came up with for me. I think it is a really fun way to reconnect with the kid we all have inside. Allot some time each week this summer for you to sit and creatively write for fun. Sit with a glass of wine, iced tea or flavored water and have at it, writing as little or as much as you want. See where the prompts take you. 🙂
Here are 10 weeks of prompts for you to use this summer…
Mom’s Summer Writing Topics:
- Describe summer using all five senses.
- What is your favorite summer treat and why?
- What is your happiest summer memory as a kid?
- How would you describe your best summer day if you could do whatever you wanted?
- What is your favorite summer family tradition?
- What is your favorite summer family memory with us?
- What is your favorite summer outside thing to do?
- What are your “key ingredients” to having the best summer?
- What animal makes you think of summer and why?
- Why don’t you wear a bikini? (Thanks to my lovely daughter for this particular prompt…LOL.)